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Dino Buzzati | Symbolist / Surrealist painter




Dino Buzzati-Traverso (14 October 1906 - 28 January 1972) was an Italian🎨 novelist, short story writer and poet, as well as a journalist for Corriere della Sera.
His worldwide fame is mostly due to his novel The Tartar Steppe, but he is also known for his well received collections of short stories.
However, Dino Buzzati was also a skilful painter and illustrator - his talent became apparent with the evocative, beautifully crafted color plates of his 1945 children’s book The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily.

Dino Buzzati Traverso, conosciuto come Dino Buzzati 1906-1972

Buzzati was born at San Pellegrino, Belluno, in his family's ancestral villa. Buzzati's mother, a veterinarian by profession, was Venetian and his father, a professor of international law, was from an old Bellunese family. Buzzati was the second of his parents' four children. One of his brothers was the well-known Italian geneticist Adriano Buzzati-Traverso.
In 1924, he enrolled in the law faculty of the University of Milan, where his father once taught.
As he was completing his studies in law, he was hired, at the age of 22, by the Milanese newspaper Corriere della Sera, where he would remain until his death. He began in the corrections department, and later worked as a reporter, special correspondent, essayist, editor and art critic. It is often said that his journalistic background informs his writing, lending even the most fantastic tales an aura of realism.

Buzzati himself comments on the connection (as cited by Lawrence Venuti):
It seems to me, fantasy should be as close as possible to journalism. The right word is not "banalizing", although in fact a little of this is involved. Rather, I mean that the effectiveness of a fantastic story will depend on its being told in the most simple and practical terms.

During World War II, Buzzati served in Africa, as a journalist attached to the Regia Marina. After the end of the war, Il deserto dei Tartari was published nationwide in Italy and quickly brought critical recognition and fame to the author. He married Almerina Antoniazzi in 1966, which also marked release of his last novel, Un amore. In 1972, Buzzati died of cancer after a protracted illness. He was an atheist.

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Buzzati began writing fiction in 1933. His works of fiction include five novels, theatre and radio plays, librettos, numerous books of short stories and poetry. His librettos include four for operas by Luciano Chailly, as well as that of the opera La giacca dannata by Giulio Viozzi.
He wrote a children's book La famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia (translated by Frances Lobb into English as The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily). Lemony Snicket wrote an introduction and reader's companion to a 2005 English edition.
Also an acclaimed and exhibited artist, Buzzati combined his artistic and writerly exploits into making a comic book based on the myth of Orpheus, Poem Strip.
The Tartar Steppe, his most famous novel, tells the story of a military outpost that awaits a Tartar invasion. In its sentiment and its conclusions, it has been compared to existentialist works, notably Albert Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus.
His writing is sometimes cited as magical realism, social alienation, and the fate of the environment and of fantasy in the face of unbridled technological progress are recurring themes. He wrote also a variety of short stories featuring fantastic animals such as the bogeyman and, his own invention, the colomber (il colombre). His Sessanta racconti short-story collection, which won the Strega Prize in 1958, features elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror throughout.
His works are highly regarded in France but little known in English.








Dino Buzzati (1906-1972) scrittore, giornalista, drammaturgo e librettista Italiano - come altri scrittori famosi, Hermann Hesse od Eugenio Montale - fu un grande appassionato d'arte. Eseguì numerosi bozzetti e dipinti di vario genere, partecipando a numerose mostre.
Il percorso artistico di Buzzati, si può distinguere in tre periodi:
  • dal 1923-1930 il Simbolismo,
  • dal 1930-1964, il Surrealismo Figurativo,
  • e l'ultimo, dal 1964-1972 che segna anche la fase artistica più matura e originale di Buzzati, il periodo della Pop Art.
Con il "Poema a fumetti" vincerà il premio Paese Sera, nel 1970.

"Il fatto è questo, io mi trovo vittima di un crudele equivoco. Sono un pittore il quale, per hobby, durante un periodo purtroppo alquanto prolungato, ha fatto anche lo scrittore e il giornalista. Il mondo invece crede che sia viceversa, le mie pitture quindi non le può prendere sul serio.

La pittura per me non è un hobby, ma il mestiere - hobby per me è scrivere. Ma dipingere e scrivere per me sono in fondo la stessa cosa. Che dipinga o scriva, io perseguo il medesimo scopo - che è quello di raccontare delle storie"

"To me, painting is not a hobby, but a job - writing is my hobby. But painting and writing are ultimately the same thing for me. Whether I write or paint, I pursue the same goal -telling stories".

- Dino Buzzati, Vecchia auto, Lossa, Milano, 1968







Il Duomo di Milano

Il dipinto più noto di Buzzati è "Il Duomo di Milano", raffigurato come una montagna dolomitica con guglie e pinnacoli, e pascoli verdi al posto della piazza.